Now more than ever, businesses are starting to navigate the complicated realm of mental health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one out of five workers experiences mental illness.
Among this number, only one in three ask help and assistance from either a professional or a colleague. Once they experience the effects of depression, anxiety, stress, and more, they generally feel burdened to work and live life.
Thus, workplaces need to come up with initiatives that will ease their employees’ mental health concerns. One of the best touchpoints to go about this is through the direct manager. As a manager, what are the strategies that will help support the mental health of your employees? Read on to know some of the best tips.
Understand The Ins And Outs Of Mental Health
You won’t be able to fully address your employee’s mental health concerns if you’re not familiar with the roadmap of mental health. Keep in mind that you do not have to explore every bit of it. You just have to understand the fundamentals and its effect on an individual.
So, how can you widen your knowledge on this sensitive topic? Listed below are some of the simple ways you can engage yourself with:
- Read Reliable Sources
With the emergence of the internet, more and more resources are now available online. However, you still have to be wary about it. Not everything you read on the internet is factual and accurate. As a tip, read scientific journals or those websites ending in .org and .edu.
- Attend Mental Health Training And Discussions
To give you a snapshot of the various facets of mental health, it is best to join seminars. The pandemic has shifted how we maximize the online platforms. Given the reality, there are now many free online talks exploring this topic, which gives you different perspectives and equip you on the science behind it.
Deep Dive Into The Primary Causes Of Workplace Stress
Admit it or not, the workplace is one of the primary sources of stress. Once workers feel this, it leads to exhaustion, loss of focus, insomnia, low productivity, and more. Therefore, as a manager, it is vital for you to explore the primary causes of stress in your work environment.
After pinpointing what’s applicable in your current setup, make sure to develop strategies that will address it. Here are some of the most common work-related stress:
- Relationship With Colleagues
One root cause of stress is the working relationship with colleagues. Face it. Workmates have different stands when it comes to working. Some accomplish things when put in a time-pressured setup, but others are not a fan of cramming. Co-workers often clash because of issues like these.
- The High Demand For The Role
Stress also arises when employees can’t cope with the high demands of the position. Several individuals cannot handle the massive amount of responsibilities on their plate, the scale of the work they’re doing, or the type of job they are a part of.
- Changes In Company Culture
Company culture also changes once management changes. The entry of a new boss might change the usuals. This scenario can also be a source of anxiety for an employee.
Open Your Door
Admit it or not, it’s a bit terrifying and awkward to open up to your manager. One silver lining the pandemic has brought, however, is gradually erasing the stigma of mental health. Now, more and more big bosses understand that mental health problems are normal, and that’s where they can come in.
It is part of your responsibility to check how your employees are doing. To receive an honest answer from their end, you have to show them that they are welcome to talk to you. Leave your door open. This way, your employees will feel comfortable entering your room and speak to you with transparency.
Aside from this, you must also be honest with them. Give them a snapshot of your experience, especially on the mental health challenges you experience as a leader.
Be A Model
Do not be an advocate just for the sake of being one. The best way to show people that you are true with what you believe in is to act appropriately and be a model. A lot of managers only focus on the mental health of their team. Sometimes, they forget to take care of themselves because of their workload.
If your people see that you’re not practicing what you preach, they may not feel motivated to follow your mental health directions.
Do not burden yourself too much. If you can, go on a much-needed vacation. Do not forget to turn off your email and cellphone notifications so it won’t distract you! If you feel that you need professional help, schedule a session with your therapist.
Set An Employee Assistance Program
There is no standard approach for addressing mental health challenges. The best way to go about this is to set up an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and incorporate activities that fit your culture. Here are some of them:
- Sponsor employee training and development (integrate mental health in some sessions)
- Establish a buddy support system
- Improve the structure of employee feedback
- Send mental health newsletters
- Provide access to mental health services via person or online
There are so many things a manager can do for his people. Addressing this aspect will increase productivity, decrease employee health care costs in the long run, increase employee retention, and boost your employees’ confidence.